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US Senators: NSA Lies In Fact Sheets

Unknown Lamer posted about a year ago | from the extraordinary-americans-have-no-rights-though dept.

Privacy 295

Bruce66423 writes "The Guardian reports that two U.S. senators have written to the NSA telling it to amend its 702 provisions fact sheet (PDF) which, they claim, contains inaccuracies. However they can't actually say HOW they are inaccurate, because they would be compromising classified information. So the U.S. government uses taxpayer money to lie to the people... there's a surprise!" From the letter: "In our judgment, this inaccuracy is significant, as it portrays protections for Americans' privacy as being significantly stronger than they actually are." But they go on to say "We appreciate your attention to this matter. We believe that the U.S. government should have broad authorities to investigate terrorism and espionage, and that it is possible to aggressively pursue terrorists without compromising the constitutional rights of ordinary Americans. Achieving this goal depends not just on secret courts and secret congressional hearings, but on informed public debate as well."

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Since when (5, Insightful)

jasper160 (2642717) | about a year ago | (#44099291)

Do politicians follow the law?

Re:Since when (3, Informative)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | about a year ago | (#44099345)

Since they get to win votes by looking like the good guys for once.

Any opportunity to give the appearance of caring what the serfs think of them, at least until the next series of America's Top Next Factor Voice Brother starts and this whole mess can be forgotten.

Re:Since when (5, Insightful)

mmcxii (1707574) | about a year ago | (#44099371)

Looking like the good guy matters less by the day. "My party, right or wrong" has been the battle cry of American politics for a long while but the lengths to which this is take in the past few administrations has become insane.

Re:Since when (0, Troll)

SonnyDog09 (1500475) | about a year ago | (#44099635)

Perhaps you haven't noticed that Tea Party insurgents have defeated incumbents in primary elections several times recently. See Richard Lugar from Indiana, for example.

Re:Since when (4, Interesting)

mmcxii (1707574) | about a year ago | (#44099941)

Several times? A few one-offs hardly represent a mandate from the people when you're dealing with a combined legislative body of 535. The US legislature has the approval rating of a two bit whore at a church gathering and you call a handful of incumbents being ousted by other people normally from the same party a reason to think that Americans are blind to politics beyond the little Rs and Ds that follow a politicians name?

The fact that you called them "insurgents" speaks volumes to your own political outlook. When the so-called Tea Party looks like a radical departure from the Republican party you know the blinders are on. While the Tea Party did have a good grassroots structure behind it at one point, today it's just another faction of a slightly fractured party. It certainly isn't enough to think that there is serious momentum from the status quo. Even more so apparent when you consider where the "Tea Party" is today compared to these grass roots. It's safe to say the Tea Party would be pretty much forgotten if it weren't for the Democrats trying to whip anyone they didn't like into the mold of a "teabagger."

History (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44099973)

You fucking idiots haven't looked at history from 150 years ago. We've got nothing on eastern kentucky in the late 1800's for fighting along party lines.

Re:Since when (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44099349)

No, but "cold fjord" and the other government shills/retards will be here soon to tell us that it's all ok and for our own safety.

Re:Since when (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44099713)

No, but "cold fjord" and the other government shills/retards will be here soon to tell us that it's all ok and for our own safety.

Mod parent up.

Re:Since when (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44099985)

"cold fjiord" is actually the code name for a US government team of internet propaganda operatives.

Re:Since when (5, Insightful)

TWiTfan (2887093) | about a year ago | (#44099401)

Since when does the NSA ever tell the truth? Basically all this letter says is "Your lies have been exposed, so make up some new ones." Meanwhile they're trying to throw the leaker of said lies into a prison for the rest of his life in hopes of discouraging anyone else from exposing the *next* set of lies.

Re:Since when (5, Informative)

Seumas (6865) | about a year ago | (#44099445)

Well, there's an important decision to be made.

The OATH of the PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES that he takes before the entire world during his inauguration clearly states that his duty in that position is "to protect and uphold the constitution of the United States".

However, George Bush stated that his job was to be "The Decider".

And Obama repeatedly states at every interview and speech that his "first priority and duty as president" is "to protect the American people".

So.. no, they don't have "the law" (ie, the Constitution) anywhere in their realm of concern.

Even though Obama is a fucking Constitutional lawyer, I believe.

Re:Since when (5, Insightful)

causality (777677) | about a year ago | (#44099519)

Even though Obama is a fucking Constitutional lawyer, I believe.

The purpose of being a Constitutional lawyer is to perform mental gymnastics creating exceptions to clearly-stated language such as "shall not infringe" and "shall make no law".

Re:Since when (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44099575)

Yes! Glad someone else has noticed.

Re:Since when (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44099841)

Obama is a fucking Constitutional lawyer, I believe.

So were all the Supreme Court justices who, in ruling in the Lessig copyright length case, said that "limited time" means whatever Congress says it means. The constitution is dead, so we are now a nation without laws. How long before we're Somalia?

Re:Since when (1)

tibman (623933) | about a year ago | (#44100051)

never?

Re:Since when (1)

RabidReindeer (2625839) | about a year ago | (#44100011)

And Obama repeatedly states at every interview and speech that his "first priority and duty as president" is "to protect the American people".

Allegedly, the job of the US President was to serve the American people.

Which is not the same thing at all.

Re:Since when (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44100027)

Well, there's an important decision to be made.

The OATH of the PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES that he takes before the entire world during his inauguration clearly states that his duty in that position is "to protect and uphold the constitution of the United States".

... including the secret, classified amendments that let them get away with all this carp.

Re:Since when (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44099777)

Crime is always more profitable...

Re:Since when (5, Insightful)

Archangel Michael (180766) | about a year ago | (#44099785)

"Is it legal" - Trade Federation

"I will make it legal" - Darth Sidious

This is the lie of the big government proponents. They love to cloak themselves in "legality", and skirt around the issue of whether or not something is right (correct, moral). Is Snowden a traitor or a hero? Well that depends upon whether you look at what he did as being legal or moral, because those questions result in two different outcomes.

Next time you here someone say "but they broke the law" ask them if Rosa Parks broke the law.

Not all laws are just laws.

Good to see senators at least doing their job (3, Insightful)

mcvos (645701) | about a year ago | (#44099293)

I'd rather they actually put a stop to it, but I guess we have to be happy that at least some senators are willing to address lies by the government.

Re:Good to see senators at least doing their job (4, Informative)

elashish14 (1302231) | about a year ago | (#44099429)

Actually, generating public outcry is probably the best thing that they can do. There are only a couple good senators and representatives in the US congress and they're not going to overturn these awful laws by themselves. Instead, all they can do is call out the other legislators on their supposed claims of government oversight keeping these programs in check, because obviously that's not happening. The NSA, and probably all other US (and UK, and other) intelligence agencies have already been exposed several times for their lies to the public (and this goes back decades as well).

So the best thing that these good guy legislators can do is expose the programs and discredit the people that support them. That will get a lot of people who are on the fence to fall on their side.

FTFY (3, Insightful)

redback (15527) | about a year ago | (#44099295)

"NSA Lies"

FTFY

Re:FTFY (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44099435)

Now *that* is something that belongs in a fact sheet.

Re:FTFY (1)

Jason Levine (196982) | about a year ago | (#44099741)

Rule One: The NSA Lies.

I'll forgive the lies if they also have two hearts, a box that's bigger on the inside, and think bowties and fezes are cool.

Re:FTFY (2)

JRV31 (2962911) | about a year ago | (#44099749)

The only time a government ever tells the truth is when it is in it's own best interest.

Congress upset someone is lying to them? (1)

hsmith (818216) | about a year ago | (#44099307)

I can't decipher how sad or pathetic this actually is.

Re:Congress upset someone is lying to them? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44099407)

"and that it is possible to aggressively pursue terrorists without compromising the constitutional rights of ordinary Americans"

So you really mean breaking the constitution, which they are sworn to uphold. Constitutional rights are binary, you have them or you do not. If you want to add 'NSA and batteries not included' then let the American people vote for that amendment.

It will serve the congress-critters right, if the NSA sends people around to blackmail or heavy them on dirty little secrets. Nixon, Hoover - they have form here, not to mention foreign sourced donations.

Re:Congress upset someone is lying to them? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44099537)

Constitutional rights are binary, you have them or you do not.

We know what binary means, you realize that or you do not.

Re:Congress upset someone is lying to them? (4, Insightful)

mjtaylor24601 (820998) | about a year ago | (#44099775)

So you really mean breaking the constitution, which they are sworn to uphold. Constitutional rights are binary, you have them or you do not.

Not that I disagree with the main point of your post, but in practice constitutional rights are rarely as black and white as you seem to think.

You have the right to free speech, but not the right to yell "fire" in a crowded room. You have the right to bear arms but not the right to own a suitcase nuke.

Personally I don't think anyone should be aspiring to a justice system that rigidly enforces the letter of law without any regards to the spirit of the law. All that does is encourage people to go searching for loopholes in the language, since you'll never be able to codify the law so perfectly that it won't require any interpretation.

Re: Congress upset someone is lying to them? (1)

niftydude (1745144) | about a year ago | (#44099411)

Yeah, does seem a bit like the pot meeting the kettle.

Reactions to this (1)

FunkyLich (2533348) | about a year ago | (#44099309)

It is important not to simply wonder on this. After all, in a way or another some had seen it commming. Now that the brown pieces have hit the rotating blades, the real issue is how to prevent this from happening in the future.
  The first thing that comes to mind is the word "Legislation". But then again, it is exactly that what gave rise to this situation in the first place.

"I have a million ideas. They all point to certain death" - Marvin

Re:Reactions to this (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44099357)

How about instead of creating new legislation, they repeal some old bills. Like the National Security Act of 1947.

Re:Reactions to this (1)

FunkyLich (2533348) | about a year ago | (#44099469)

I strongly wish that. When I mentioned "Legislation" by no means I was thinking adding only. The options could be as trimming, repealing, changing, trashing... in general, fixing. And moreover, the process of stopping this from happening again should encompass legislation, not be limited within its boundaries. For example, it might also involve necessity to inform the public and some line there reading "Non compliants will be taken out and shot". Ok, this is figurative but the idea is that there has to be some fear factor in it. Human civilsation experience so far has shown countless times that absolute power corrupts absolutely. So we shoud be careful to NOT give such powers.

Re:Reactions to this (2)

Seumas (6865) | about a year ago | (#44099547)

Or The USA PATRIOT Act of 200X.

Re:Reactions to this (4, Interesting)

Vintermann (400722) | about a year ago | (#44099705)

Or the espionage act of 1917. Created with the noble intent of going after people who spoke against joining WWI.

Re:Reactions to this (1, Troll)

cold fjord (826450) | about a year ago | (#44099827)

How about instead of creating new legislation, they repeal some old bills. Like the National Security Act of 1947.

Great idea. What are you going to replace it with? Or do you think the US should just do away with the US Department of Defense, NSA, Army, Navy, Air Force, etc.? Shouldn't there be at least some sort of mutual disarmament treaty between the major powers before the US disarms? Maybe try building on the success of the Kellogg–Briand Pact [wikipedia.org] which outlawed war?

Re:Reactions to this (-1)

cold fjord (826450) | about a year ago | (#44099717)

... the real issue is how to prevent this from happening in the future. The first thing that comes to mind is the word "Legislation". But then again, it is exactly that what gave rise to this situation in the first place.

Well, that is part of having the rule of law. You have to spell out what is to be done, and what the rules are. Some things don't work out the way they were intended, and the law get changed. You still have to come up with a plan which translates into law.

Things can get tricky when you have to develop laws that cover a wide range of situations as is the case with national security. You never know may crop up. For example, the US military has had to rely upon an 1861 law to continue operations on more than one occasion.

1861 law may help Army operate under shutdown [armytimes.com]
For Pentagon, A Legal Leg To Forage On [philly.com]

diff.... (1)

gbjbaanb (229885) | about a year ago | (#44099315)

However they can't actually say HOW they are inaccurate, because they would be compromising classified information.

diff those documents before and after amendment, see the classified information. I don't know if the senators are dumb or being subtly clever.

Re:diff.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44099369)

Then obviously the fact sheets will need to be classified after amendment. ;)

Re:diff.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44099387)

Solution: make pseudo changes in a proportion of 10 to 1 of intended changes.

Re:diff.... (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about a year ago | (#44099473)

diff those documents before and after amendment, see the classified information. I don't know if the senators are dumb or being subtly clever.

After such an amendment, the information would have been declassified. Can't tell if you're cleverly dumb or dumbly subtle.

Well yea but (1)

jameshofo (1454841) | about a year ago | (#44099323)

Politicians pointing out that the NSA lies about facts, and they let them know. They should go to the people who are in charge of the NSA and let them know, silly politicians.

Who is in charge? (4, Interesting)

Subm (79417) | about a year ago | (#44099331)

How long before Congress simply states "We aren't in charge anymore."?

Re:Who is in charge? (1)

Danathar (267989) | about a year ago | (#44099505)

that happened years ago

Re:Who is in charge? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44099533)

How long before Congress simply states "We aren't in charge anymore."?

The Executive branch would never authorize that leak.

Re:Who is in charge? (1)

Seumas (6865) | about a year ago | (#44099559)

Didn't they do that a long time ago? For at least a decade, they have basically been nothing but yes-men to the executive branch. There may as well not even fucking BE a legislative branch.

Re:Who is in charge? (3, Insightful)

cold fjord (826450) | about a year ago | (#44099569)

As long as Congress controls the budget, Congress is in charge. That won't change any time soon.

The question is, do enough of their colleagues agree with them to take action? Their view may be poorly justified.

Re:Who is in charge? (4, Insightful)

Jason Levine (196982) | about a year ago | (#44099797)

Even though they're "in charge," they might not set the rules due to a lack of political will (standing up to someone who wants to do something "to fight terrorists" or "in the name of national security" for fear of being portrayed as weak next election cycle) or due to money flow from lobbyists telling them what laws to write ("we're not bribing you, we're just giving you this expensive trip and a cushy position when you retire if you get this bill we wrote passed"). Having the authority to be in charge and actually being in charge are two very different things.

And? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44099339)

I'm guessing when the "fact sheet" is updated it would only be to include whatever lies the current administration wants them to tell.

The game is rigged, folks. There isn't going to be any change unless YOU MAKE IT.

Half right (3, Interesting)

SirGarlon (845873) | about a year ago | (#44099351)

The senators said, in part,

it is possible to aggressively pursue terrorists without compromising the constitutional rights of ordinary Americans

My gut says this is plausible, but we don't really know - it's never been tried.

Re:Half right (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44099585)

"well, do you see any tigers around here?"

Re:Half right (1)

NatasRevol (731260) | about a year ago | (#44099721)

Why does the NSA see tigers everywhere?

Re:Half right (1)

SirGarlon (845873) | about a year ago | (#44099817)

Because the definition of "terrorist" is so wonderfully flexible. It's very useful for constructing circular justifications: we spy on the terrorists because the people we want to spy on are terrorists. But if you think there is _no_ need for counter-terrorism at all, then I have to disagree. I just think the FBI can handle it using regular, constitutional law enforcement powers.

Re:Half right (0, Troll)

cold fjord (826450) | about a year ago | (#44099929)

Why does the NSA see tigers everywhere?

Because there are tigers to be seen if you are willing and able to look.

National Counterterrorism Center: Annex of Statistical Information [state.gov]

Attacks worldwide : People killed, injured or kidnapped

2007: 14,415 71,803
2008: 11,663 54,290
2009: 10,968 58,720
2010: 11,641 49,928
2011: 10,283 43,990

Re:Half right (3, Informative)

SirGarlon (845873) | about a year ago | (#44099733)

I live in Boston. So, yes, we had a "tiger" attack recently that killed 3 people and injured 250+, you insensitive clod. (N.B. I am not saying we need stronger counter-terrorism, I am just saying that terrorists are not purely imaginary.) I am sure the people of Iraq, Pakistan, India, and Yemen [nydailynews.com] believe in terrorists as well.

Re:Half right (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44099835)

Three people died yesterday in Boston due to a car wreck. We must ensure that no other person dies in a car accident by requiring a GPS implant in every car as well as a device that only allows a car to be activated with government approval. Without this, all of our safety is at dire risk. Additionally, we must ensure that no traffic laws are broken by requiring a live dashcam feed sent to the local police department for every vehicle on the road. Without this, we will not be able to identify those who are at risk of breaking a traffic law and placing *ALL* of us at grave risk.

Re:Half right (4, Funny)

oreaq (817314) | about a year ago | (#44100009)

I'm glad we had all that illegal surveillance going to prevent this attack.

Re:Half right (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44100057)

3+250 is an occasional zoo escape; small enough to not disprove the stone's effectiveness but scary enough to bump the sales. The product is not for sale in India.

Re:Half right (1)

pjt33 (739471) | about a year ago | (#44099987)

The other way of reading that quote is that it's not possible to aggressively pursue terrorists without compromising the constitutional rights of some (extraordinary) Americans.

Wouldn't that be classified? (2)

MrMickS (568778) | about a year ago | (#44099361)

If they can't show the issues with it due to national security reasons would we be able to see a correctly amended version of the document? It seems odd to point out issues with a public document but not be able to point out what is wrong.

If the document is corrected how will we know if its a true and accurate portrayal of the state of affairs? It seems to me that information will be held back, for national security reasons, and as such the document is bound to be inaccurate even if not deliberately misleading.

Re:Wouldn't that be classified? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44099485)

I'd expect that what is in the document is explicitly declared as non-classified, which these congress folk (apparently) do not have the privilege to do. Therefore, they need to tell the NSA to declassify the necessary information, rather than doing it themselves.

No real congressional over-site (1)

schwit1 (797399) | about a year ago | (#44099367)

Obama stated that "These programs are subject to congressional oversight and congressional reauthorization and congressional debate. And if there are members of Congress who feel differently, then they should speak up. And if in fact there was - there were abuses taking place, presumably, those members of Congress could raise those issues very aggressively. They're empowered to do so."

But the only place Congress is legally permitted to speak up is in a classified hearing.. This means it's not just that members of Congress can't publicly air complaints about the programs they can't even acknowledge they exist.

Re:No real congressional over-site (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44099399)

This story exists because some members of Congress are publicly airing complaints.

Re:No real congressional over-site (4, Interesting)

moeinvt (851793) | about a year ago | (#44099443)

If we had some people in Congress and the Senate who were genuine leaders with a modicum of courage and respect for the oath they swore on The Constitution, they'd go public. Let's see Big Brother arrest some of our elected officials for "treason" because they tell their constituents what the government is doing.

After all of Obama's speeches telling us about how the programs have congressional oversight, I've been demanding that my elected asshats in DC tell me exactly who knows the details. No luck yet. I've suggested that it must be the intelligence committees, but my Rep. and Senators won't give me any specifics.

Re:No real congressional over-site (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44099549)

There have been times where they have arrested officials who didnt play nicely with the executive branch. Usually nothing good comes of it. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reichstag_fire [wikipedia.org]

Re:No real congressional over-site (1)

Virtucon (127420) | about a year ago | (#44099703)

There is congressional oversight by the Intelligence Committees. However they're so caught up with shit all over their faces right now because they're the ones who tell their peers that "This is okay, approve it" when it comes to the acts and the budget.

The way to kill all of this horseshit is to ultimately hold congress accountable and change the laws, de-fund it and get back to putting this country on the right track as opposed to worrying about middle-eastern shit for brains that have nothing better to do than kill and maim their own people. That of course would mean that we need voters who are willing to actually vote for new candidates and stop voting for the same old shit. With about half of the country opposed to the other half right now, I'll believe that when I grow udders and get milked (to paraphrase a line from "The Money Pit.").

"In a democracy people get the leaders they deserve." - Joseph de Maistre

Re:No real congressional over-site (1)

Vintermann (400722) | about a year ago | (#44099793)

It would be nice if it was the powerful dissenters like Wyden who resorted to civil disobedience, rather than comparatively powerless like Snowden.

Not that it would be without consequences, even for the powerful, to resist. But they're much, much better equipped to defend themselves.

Re:No real congressional over-site (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44099633)

But the only place Congress is legally permitted to speak up is in a classified hearing.. This means it's not just that members of Congress can't publicly air complaints about the programs they can't even acknowledge they exist.

No, it doesn't need to be a classified hearing. They could discuss it all they wanted in open hearings of Congress or it's committees or subcommittees, and not face legal repercussions. The Speech and Debate Clause of the Constitution gives them that ability: "...and for any Speech or Debate in either House, they shall not be questioned in any other Place.", and Gravel v. United States, regarding Senator Gravel and the disclosure of the Pentagon Papers, clarified what exactly that covered.

Re:No real congressional over-site (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44099681)

But the only place Congress is legally permitted to speak up is in a classified hearing.. This means it's not just that members of Congress can't publicly air complaints about the programs they can't even acknowledge they exist.

U.S. Constitution, Article I, Section 6: "... and for any Speech or Debate in either House, they shall not be questioned in any other Place."

This means any Senator or Representative can stand up on the floor of their respective chamber and say whatever they damn well feel like, and answer to no law other than the rules of the Senate or House. They may get "sanctioned" or even tossed out of their job, but they can't be tried for release of classified info.

It's not the law that these congressfolk are afraid of, it's the blackmail material that has been collected against them, should they dare to speak out.

Re:No real congressional over-site (1)

Vintermann (400722) | about a year ago | (#44099751)

You got to wonder what Wyden thinks to himself, when he sees his own president brazenly say stuff like this while simultaneously forbidding him by force of law from speaking up.

let me fix that for you (3, Insightful)

csumpi (2258986) | about a year ago | (#44099379)

"So the [put any country's name here] government uses taxpayer money to lie to the people... there's a surprise!"

Important info but ... (1)

oztiks (921504) | about a year ago | (#44099391)

Since when did /. become an aggregate of the Daily Show? News for nerds... stuff that matters?

Re:Important info but ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44099415)

"News for Nerds, stuff that matters" is no longer claimed to be displayed on the site, and for good reason.

Re:Important info but ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44099899)

The beginnings of real dissension within the government to what the government isn't 'stuff that matters'?

Secret courts? (4, Insightful)

PeeAitchPee (712652) | about a year ago | (#44099403)

Achieving this goal depends not just on secret courts and secret congressional hearings

What's the goal -- having a police state? There NO place for secret courts and secret Congressional hearings in a free society.

Re:Secret courts? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44099465)

I think having a nuanced view of these issues requires us to consider the possibility that such things might sometimes be justified.
Spies and terrorists do exist. The levels of these threats may be different from what they are portrayed to be, but they're not completely fictitious.
Is it completely unreasonable to ever need to keep secrets in the investigation and handling of spies and terrorists?

Re:Secret courts? (2)

Greyfox (87712) | about a year ago | (#44099583)

Pretty sure the secret courts were one of the gripes our founding fathers had with England. Of course, in England's eyes, our founding fathers were terrorists, so there you go.

Re:Secret courts? (1)

Bucc5062 (856482) | about a year ago | (#44099685)

The base issue is not so much about keep secrets in the ongoing investigations, not telling bad guys we know where you are is understandable. The issue is that agencies like the NSA are usupring the Constitution in order to try and hook bad guys, pontetially invading privacy of US citizens that have no connection with any bad guys. Consider this statement:

"Any inadvertently acquired communication of or concerning a US person must be promptly destroyed if it is neither relevant to the authorized purpose or evidence of a crime."

There is no implied statement there, the NSA is processing general communications in the hopes of find a bad guy, but doing so by digging into private communications without a warrant.

The whole point of a warrant is to ensure that the Authority has reasonable reason to look beyond the public face of an individual. What the NSA did is akin to random checkpoints, searching all people who come by. If one refuses then they labeled suspicious, not that they are asserting their constitutional rights. We are innocent till proven guilty, but the NSA seems to feel that that does not matter. We are all guilty, just ignore the stuff that doesn't matter right now.

Keeping an investigation quiet? Yes. Secret Courts, maybe? But secret Congressional hearings? No for they represent Us and We should demand that agencies be held accountable to the Law.

tldr; I don't want my country to become East Germany

Re:Secret courts? (2)

Lumpy (12016) | about a year ago | (#44099823)

They are never justified, NEVER.

Re:Secret courts? (1)

mu51c10rd (187182) | about a year ago | (#44099961)

Secret courts are important..depending on their purpose. FISA is useful as it grants a small group of judges security clearances instead of the entire federal bench corp. Security clearances are necessary to vet people who will see information to protect sources and methods...it is not supposed to be protecting information (beyond that which would reveal sources and methods). I see FISA as a necessity, but it appears that Snowden has revealed how abused the FISA court now is. FISA should not have the authority to do blanket searches like that...only targetted ones.

Whatever... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44099419)

The U.S. government lies, NSA lies, CIA lies, FBI lies, DEA lies, NBC lies, ABC lies, Fox lies...

Blah blah blah...

Stargate Fans - (1)

pecosdave (536896) | about a year ago | (#44099449)

I think we actually need an NID [wikia.com] now. Not the plot device, but a real civilian oversight agency. The real question is how do we staff it without getting people just as corrupt as the rest of the government?

Re:Stargate Fans - (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44099627)

By lotto?

Re:Stargate Fans - (1)

Lumpy (12016) | about a year ago | (#44099809)

no we need Amercians that are not lazy idiots.

Call, Write, FAX and email your senators and demand they work to repeal the PATRIOT act now. and get others to do it as well.

I will venture a guess... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44099479)

Republican Senators, right? What do I win?

Re:I will venture a guess... (2)

NatasRevol (731260) | about a year ago | (#44099921)

No, Udall is Dem, Wyden is Rep.

You win -1 Internets.

Metropolitan police spies on it's critics (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44099493)

As these secret surveillance laws unravell, more people are coming forward. This time, in the UK, an undercover officer who was made to spy on protest groups, (protesting police killings) steps forward:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2013/jun/24/metropolitan-police-spying-undercover-officers

Power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely.

link to the pdf is broken (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44099553)

but archive.org has a copy -- http://web.archive.org/web/20130625004125/http://www.nsa.gov/public_info/_files/press_releases/section_702_protections.pdf

That's like the old line.. (1)

Virtucon (127420) | about a year ago | (#44099563)

"I could tell you what is wrong, but then I'd have to kill you."

If anyone is surprised... (1)

intermodal (534361) | about a year ago | (#44099615)

I can assure them with confidence that the NSA knows which rock they live under.

Mutually exclusive (1)

Taibhsear (1286214) | about a year ago | (#44099621)

...and that it is possible to aggressively pursue terrorists without compromising the constitutional rights of ordinary Americans.
Achieving this goal depends not just on secret courts and secret congressional hearings,

These last two statements are in direct opposition to one another. They are mutually exclusive. Pick one. And by pick one I mean the former.

Let's be clear what they're saying here. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44099693)

The senators are saying: "Snowden is right. You're doing completely illegal things, and you know it, and you lied about it. Fix yo sh*t."

They can't SAY that, of course, because that would upset the party line of "Snowden is a horrible traitor and must be hanged in the public square." If Congress is shocked by and acting on his revelations, they're endorsing that his disclosure was a necessary thing.

They can't even say "Your document is wrong because it doesn't mention the stuff you're doing with PRISM," because the media can put two and two together and realize they're basing that on Snowden's opinion.

The war on terror must take a back seat to the war on leakers.

National Security Trumps Constitution (3, Insightful)

n2hightech (1170183) | about a year ago | (#44099755)

Essentially the constitution means nothing if they say the magic words "National Security". You think you have rights sorry we think you are a threat to "National Security" we can lock you up. No evidence. No judge. No jury. No Press. No rules apply to us we are protecting "National Security". This is the same logic every dictatorship has used throughout history. How big a threat is Al Qaeda and the Talaban really? In all their attacks on the US through out all history they have killed 4400+/- people. And 4488+/- of our troops in their country. So less than 10,000 US deaths due to Al Qaeda and the Talaban over the last 17 years give or take depending on when you say Al Qaeda formed. So the average death tole is 588 US citizens per year due to Al Qaeda and the Talaban actions. How does this compare to other threats to "National Security" From the CDC Report on death statics http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nvsr/nvsr61/nvsr61_04.pdf [cdc.gov] This ranks right up there with accidental deaths from firearms and a bad case of the flu. Don't get me wrong. I believe those responsible for acts of violence should be punished and a military response to 911 was the right thing to do. When you look at the actual impact based on the death toll the security of our country was not and has never been at stake. I do not feel less fearful today or more free today. I am much more fearful of loosing my rights and freedoms to actions of our government than I am to those of Al Qaeda, the Talaban and terrorism in general.

DUH. (2)

Lumpy (12016) | about a year ago | (#44099787)

Step 1 when you have a leak. Discredit the source.

the NSA knows they need to lie through their teeth hard to discredit this as fast as possible and hope that the bulk of the population believes them.

Step 2 is demonize the source in the eyes of the people. That one is currently underway.

Ugh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44099819)

We appreciate your attention to this matter. We believe that the U.S. government should have broad authorities to investigate terrorism and espionage, and that it is possible to aggressively pursue terrorists without compromising the constitutional rights of ordinary Americans.

Non-Americans and Permanent Residents, though, fuck em. We actually rewrote the Constitution a while back replacing "the People" with "Citizens". But that's classified.

Lies in fact sheets (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44099821)

Fact sheets, I don't think that means what you think it means

The media (4, Interesting)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about a year ago | (#44099907)

So... up until this NSA/Snowden incident, I believed the media was incompetent. Not malicious... just out to make a buck and real news was expensive to do research on. But now it's clear. The coverage on this entire affair by CNN, CBS, NBC, etc... is flat out propaganda. There is no question that what the NSA is doing is unconstitutional. It is, without a doubt, a violation of our rights. Snowden really is a political activist. The US would be applauding such behavior of a Chinese citizen, and we would provide them asylum in a heartbeat. The presidents that allowed this to continue (Bush and Obama) should be charged in criminal court for this. Obama, at the very least should be impeached. The courts involved, the members of congress that were aware, they should all lose their offices at the very least. The NSA should be shut down permanently. We still have a chance to save the republic... but it's a small one. Everyone in this country needs to vote 3rd party going forward. If you vote R or D in any election in the future, you're a traitor to your country and we should all be ashamed of you.

Just Terrifying (1)

Shortguy881 (2883333) | about a year ago | (#44099937)

"We believe the US government should have broad authorities to investigate terrorism and espionage and that it is possible to aggressively pursue terrorists without compromising the constitutional rights of ordinary Americans."

Terrorism is an ill defined concept, legally speaking. This still allows them to strip the rights away from any US citizen they deem to be a terrorist.

smirk (1)

vikingpower (768921) | about a year ago | (#44099957)

Upon trying to access the PDF fact sheet:

Internal Server Error - Read

The server encountered an internal error or misconfiguration and was unable to complete your request.

Reference #3.767ffea5.1372167766.16d1687b

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